Known for the warmth, humor, clarity, and depth of his teachings, Zen teacher Peter Levitt is also the author of fourteen books of poetry and prose. Legendary poet Robert Creeley wrote that Peter Levitt’s poetry “sounds the honor of our common dance.” Town Hall is thrilled to welcome Peter to the stage for an evening sharing his recent works of poetry that explores our connection to the natural world and sing the sacred in the everyday. After the readings, he joins in conversation with poet Shin Yu Pai, Town Hall’s Inside/Out Neighborhood Resident representing Phinney/Greenwood. Sit in with Peter and Shin Yu for an intimate discussion of the complexities of human relationships and the notion of coming home to ourselves—to who and what we naturally and truly are.
Peter Levitt began his Zen practice in the late sixties in San Francisco, and he received lay entrustment from Zoketsu Norman Fischer, which authorized him to teach in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki-Roshi. He is the founder and guiding teacher of the Salt Spring Zen Circle on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. Peter edited Thich Nhat Hanh’s classic, The Heart of Understanding, and he served as Associate and Translation Editor of Treasury of the True Dharma Eye: Zen Master Dogen’s Shobo Genzo, edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi. His ten poetry books include Within Within, One Hundred Butterflies, and Bright Root, Dark Root. In addition, he published Fingerpainting on the Moon: Writing and Creativity as a Path to Freedom. His publishing career includes fiction, journalism and literary translations from Chinese, Japanese and Spanish. In 1989, Peter received the prestigious Lannan Foundation Award in Poetry.
Shin Yu Pai is Town Hall Seattle’s 2018 Inside/Out Resident representing the Phinney Greenwood neighborhoods. Shin Yu is a poet, cross-media artist, and curator for the collaborative global exploration project Atlas Obscura. Her poetic origins inform an artistic style that has grown beyond the written word—manifesting in photography, installation and public art, cross-disciplinary collaborations, and sound. She encourages us to reflect upon the essential questions of our own lives, and to explore how we see that interrogation expressed or mirrored around us.
Program format: Peter Levitt and Shin Yu Pai will take part in a 45-minute on-stage conversation with poetry reading and then a 15-20 minute Q&A.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle as part of the Civics series with support from The Cloud Room and Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.